Prestigious United States Forest Service Eastern Region Honor Award for Volunteerism and Service bestowed on the Ice Age Trail Alliance
The United States Forest Service recently recognized the Ice Age Trail Alliance’s commitment to creating and delivering an outstanding volunteer experience as part of its Mobile Skills Crew (MSC) program.
The Ice Age Trail Alliance forges strong relationships with a wide-range of partners as a means to engaging a diverse population with the vision of creating, maintaining and protecting a thousand-mile footpath through Wisconsin. A popular mantra of the Alliance, “Trailbuilding is people building”, ensures quality skill-building and service-learning components go hand-in-hand with the trail work that must be accomplished during an MSC event.
Recently, Tim Malzhan, Director of Trail Operations and a key partner recognized for this award visited with K99's Russ Gowey.....
The last time that the Taylor County Board of supervisors got a pay raise was in the year 2011. At Tuesday’s county board meeting supervisor Sue Breneman told the board that in order to make the position more appealing to potential candidates, the pay needs to be in line. The proposal was to increase the pay from $50 to $75 per meeting. Several members expressed concern on the 50% amount of increase. County accountant Larry Brandl indicated that the increase would have a negligible impact on the county tax levy. Lester Lewis said that in comparison to similar sized counties, Taylor County was below average in their board and chairman pay rates. Mike Bub proposed cutting the increase from 75 to $60 per meeting but that proposal failed by a 7 yes and 9 no vote count. The original proposal to raise the pay to $75 per meeting and $100 for full day events passed, but had 5 supervisors, Krug, Hanson, Bub, Mildebrand and Knoll voting no. The pay increase will take effect after the next county board election.
ATV/UTV routes on county roads received some funding from Taylor County’s powerline impact fund on Tuesday, April 18th. Don Liske told the county board that the Taylor Made ATV club has received about $123,000 annually from the state. However the money can only be used for trail maintenance and not signage. He told the board that while Taylor County currently has 35 miles of ATV/UTV designated routes there are requests for an additional 35 miles. He indicated that several neighboring counties have been proactive in opening up trails and roadways to ATV’s with the goal of attracting tourism dollars. The communities of Tomahawk, Owen, Curtiss and others have opened all of their streets to ATV operation. 19 of Taylor County townships have opened all of their town roads to ATV’s. A request to provide $10,000 failed for lack of a 2/3 board approval, but a request to provide $5,000 of Powerline Impact funds for ATV route signage passed by a vote of 13 to 3.
The Taylor County Board met on Tuesday, April 18th. They expressed their appreciation to county employees who recently retired including: Betty Danen, Beth Abegglen, Ruth Ann Pipkorn, Robin Dassow and Don Erl.
Next up the county board approved buying a strip of land that is ideally suited for a spaghetti factory. The parcel is about ¼ mile long and varies in width from 4 feet 8 inches on one end and meanders to zero when it meets Little Rib Road. Several months ago the county board voted to purchase the Deseris property which borders the county forest on the edge of Rib Lake. Following the purchase, county surveyor Bob Meyer noted that the “V” shaped sliver of land was not part of the sale and actually laid between the newly purchased county forest and a third party. Supervisor Sue Breneman said it would be good public relations to pay $50 plus transfer fees for the slim parcel and all board members except Chuck Zenner agreed.
Taylor County could soon be a part of the “Safe Ride Program”. Terry Phillips told the county board that all Taylor County Tavern League members would be eligible to offer the safe ride option to their patrons. Mr. Phillips indicated that currently about half of the county’s taverns belong to the tavern league. He felt that by being able to offer the safe ride option it would be a good incentive to join the league. Supervisor Bub amended the resolution to provide powerline impact funds and to increase the amount from $3,000 to $5,000. The money would be used to start up the safe ride program in Taylor County. The amended request passed with supervisors Zenner and Krug voting no.
Taylor County Board Puts "Band Aid" on Chelsea Lake Dam
The Taylor County Board put a band-aid on the Chelsea Lake Dam. For more than an hour Tuesday, April 18th, board members expressed options and debated opinions on the best way to proceed with the dam issue.
Chuck Zenner told the board that the issue has been stretched out for the past 15 years and it was time for a resolution. The DNR has issued an order to have a dam failure analysis done before the end of 2017. Cost of the study is about $14,000.
The Chelsea Conservation Club installed the dam in 1961. The permit to install the dam was supposed to be transferred from the conservation club to the county but that was never done. The DNR has rendered an opinion that the Chelsea Conservation Club owns the dam.
In 1993 the county board indicated that the county would be responsible for maintaining the dam. The county owns the land which the dam is on, and an easement to get to the dam is apparently under water. The county had proposed forming a Lake District which could be comprised of the Conservation Club, the Town of Westboro and land owners around Chelsea Lake. 51% of land owners or 51% of the involved land would need to approve the formation. Gene Krug told the board that the likelihood of land owner approval was a hard sell. He said there are only 6 residences on the lake and only 8 or 9 developed lots. Greg Krug told the board that if the county took ownership of the dam, the conservation club would pitch in $12,000. Lester Lewis said that the county doesn’t own the dike, and that’s a bigger issue because it’s been leaking for years.
Gene Krug told the board that it’s possible that the Chelsea Conservation Club will be out of existence in a few years.
The board voted to accept the $12,000 from the Chelsea Conservation Club and to assume ownership and maintenance of the dam. Supervisors Zenner, Lewis and Brooks voted no. It was uncertain what the status of the dike was as the bulk of the dike is on private land.
Local Horses Help Outfit Cellphone Towers in Rural Wisconsin
Old and new technologies are merging in rural Wisconsin, as U.S. Cellular is using draft horses to help install cellphone equipment.
The big draft horses, owned by Goodrich dairy farmer and logger Jason Julian, are usually used for logging, dragging timber out of the woods where a truck or tractor would make a mess. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the horses are being used to haul equipment up steep wooded hillsides, where trucks have gotten stuck in the mud and all-terrain vehicles haven't been up to the job. The horses pull the high-tech gear, which weighs nearly a ton with all the pieces included, with a wooden wagon. The equipment is needed to upgrade mobile phone service in sparsely-populated areas.
Recently, Jason Julian stopped by the K99 Radio studios in Medford and shared his story with K99's Russ Gowey....
Who owns the Chelsea Lake Dam? Who will pay for the required maintenance and studies which are required by the DNR? At Friday’s meeting of the Forestry and Recreation Committee, chairman Chuck Zenner indicated he has met with representatives of the Chelsea Conservation Club and that he sees 3 options for the future of the dam: They could remove the dam, the county could take ownership, or a lake district could be created which would then take control of the dam.
The DNR has indicated that a culvert, a riser and a flood dam analysis need to be done at an estimated cost of $25,000. Mr Zenner indicated that for a lake district to be formed, 51% of the landowners must approve. There currently are 27 landowners around Chelsea Lake including Taylor County which owns the boat landing and a park.
At issue is a 25 year old county board resolution which was passed in 1993. At that time the Conservation Club installed the dike and culvert, and the county indicated they would pay for future maintenance and repairs. Several representatives of Chelsea Conservation Club expressed their frustration over the county’s unwillingness to pay for the maintenance. It was noted that the dam is on county land but in the opinion of the DNR, the county doesn’t own the dam.
The cost of creating a lake district is $3,000 to $5,000. The lake district would have taxing powers but would also be qualified for grant programs. The lake district could be comprised of Taylor County, the Town of Chelsea, and the surrounding land owners.
Committee member Michael Bub made an amended motion to recommend the county board approve that once the Chelsea Lake District is created, the county would allocate up to $5,000 for the district creation legal fees, and up to $20,000 for the currently required maintenance and flood dam studies. All future expenses would be incurred by the Chelsea Lake District. Ownership of the dike and dam would revert to the lake district. The county would maintain ownership of the boat landing and park. The motion passed unanimously. County clerk Bruce Strama indicated that the lake district would qualify for a 50% grant.
Michael Bub told the group that the measure was a good compromise, and that he wanted a long term solution to fix a 25 year mess.
The issue of what to do with the Chelsea Lake Dam will be voted on by the Taylor County Board at their April 18th meeting.
The Medford Veteran’s Memorial Park Flag Field will be the site of a new memorial honoring those soldiers killed in the line of duty.
The American Legion and Medford High School History Club invited the public to take part in a design competition to find the way to best honor and memorialize those citizens from Taylor County who paid the ultimate sacrifice in hopes of securing the promise of liberty for all.
The design is being finalized with a final rendering available in late May.
Recently Roger Emmerich of the Medford VFW, Medford Area Senior High School History Teacher Corey Nazer and Design Winner Emily Mahner stopped by K99 Radio to share with K99's Russ Gowey the goals of the project and a description of the winning design......
Roger Emmerich, Corey Nazer & Emily Mahner w/K99's Russ Gowey Part 1
Roger Emmerich, Corey Nazer & Emily Mahner w/K99's Russ Gowey Part 2